"Joe Wilkins has a big, true, highway-running American voice. When you see a new book of his, you should celebrate. Just buy it, put down the window, and let the music blow back your hair. It's nothing but alive." – Luis Alberto Urrea
Really pleased (read: damned ecstatic) to announce The Mountain and the Fathers has won the 2014 GLCA New Writers Award in Nonfiction. The New Writers Award brings winning writers to GLCA campuses for readings and class visits and has previously recognized the likes of Louise Erdrich, Alice Munro, Richard Ford, Kim Addonizio, Andrew Hudgins, Elizabeth Rosner, Ander Monson, Mary Szybist, and Alan Heathcock, among many others.
Here’s the citation from the judges, which has me blushing and feeling really good about things:
The 2014 winner for creative non-fiction is Joe Wilkins, The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing up on the Big Dry, published by Counterpoint Press. Our judges note:
The Big Dry of eastern Montana makes for a subject of rich complexity. Joe Wilkins evokes place like Willa Cather. That is, place begins as a kind of raw, wide-open poetry. But Wilkins tells a different story. This is about the author’s search for a model of fatherhood, to fill spaces left empty by the death of his father. Wilkins strikes with staggering, melancholy, progressively self-reflective prose that, in part, inhabits the sparseness of the part of Montana where he was born and grew up. Yet his prose also pushes against what might be considered the standard fare of writing fixed in the American West. He addresses memory and the inability to remember in lyrical prose that is, at times, achingly beautiful yet never pretentious or sentimental and never cold. With exquisite control at both the structural and sentence level, he displays both a surety and openness to question, particularly with regard to class and masculinity without theorizing or naming them as such.